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Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon Hardcover – March 1, 2005
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"Preaching that conforms to the pattern set here will certainly be edifying."
About the Author
Bryan Chapell, (PhD, Southern Illinois University) is senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois. He previously served as president and professor of practical theology at Covenant Theological Seminary. He is much sought after as a speaker in churches and conferences around the country and is the author of several books.
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Top Customer Reviews
I 100% recommend this book to anyone who will ever step behind a pulpit. Heck, this book should be used for basically all of public speaking. He really breaks down how listeners hear and process information, and how to use that to connect with them. It really has changed my outlook on delivering sermons, speeches, and lessons and lectures to a large audience. I've applied the principles not only while preaching, but while teaching chemistry to college students, and while leading Bible studies.
I cannot recommend this book enough. If you have access, go to iTunes U and search for "Christ Centered Preaching" to find Chapell's lectures about the topic for free download. This book is an excellent companion for the lectures, and it functions well as a standalone introduction to the same concepts.
This book is really two books in one - one, homiletical; and the other, theological. One should not expect this book to be a full treatment of either. However, extensive footnotes allow the reader to explore other texts for more explanation.
From a homiletical point of view (with some exegetical recommendations), the books removes much of the mystery out of the process of developing a sermon. Chapell develops the layout of a typical sermon:
The Introduction > [leads to] The Fallen Condition Focus > Sermon Proposition > Main Points > Applicable Subpoints (with associated illustrations & applications) > [all building to the] Conclusion
In Chapell's own words, "The body of the sermon indicates how the scriptural balm should be applied to our lives and what regimens God requires for our spiritual health. Main points formulated to reflect and support the principles of the proposition provide the information that acts as biblical leverage for the preacher's exhortations. Explanation and illustration unfold and demonstrate meanings that supply the reasoning and reality that make the sermon's applications authoritative, accessible, and possible. The conclusion drives the matter home, marshaling the forces of heart and mind for a final exhortation that calls listeners to respond to their fallen condition with the biblical guidance that the sermon has disclosed."
From a theological point of view, it reminds us of the authority of scripture and Christ as its focus. A redemptive sermon, Chapell argues, is a grace-oriented message that "...will lead people to understand that Christ's work rather than their own supplies the only basis for God's acceptance and that Christ's strength rather than their own provides the only hope of Christian obedience."
The appendices in this book are also noteworthy:
- philosophy of dress and style
- divisions and proportions of sermons; including a "sermon preparation pyramid"
- example wedding, funeral, and evangelistic messages
- recommended study resources
- how to read scripture publically in front of the congregation
- sample sermon evaluation forms
- and a sample sermon with flags pointing out the concepts taught throughout the book.
Whether you are a preacher or teacher of God's word, you will find this book to be a helpful addition to your library.
Equally valuable is Chapell's practical advice on how to prepare and preach an expository sermon. Over the years I have witnessed too many sermons that were intended as expository sermons make one of two mistakes. At one extreme are those sermons that begin by focusing on a text and then go off on tangents, where the connection with the text is tenuous at best. On the other extreme are those sermons that degenerate into little more than a verse-by-verse commentary on a passage with little attempt to provide an overview of the main points or make any practical application. Chapell does a great job of showing how to stay focused on the text while at the same time keeping the overview and application to the fore.
Chapell's appendixes (there are 12 of them altogether) provide practical information on a wide variety of topics, including methods of preparation and presentation, wedding and funeral messages, evangelistic messages, study resources, and the like.